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Last-minute reprieve: Government gives community TV station Channel 31 another year on the air

The government has given Melbourne community TV station Channel 31 a last-minute reprieve, allowing it to stay on air for another year while it transitions to a digital-only broadcasting model.

Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said on Monday night the government had wanted community TV stations to go online since 2014 but extended deadlines several times. That will happen again on Tuesday, when Mr Fletcher will formally announce the extension.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has given Melbourne community TV station one more year of life on free-to-air TV.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has given Melbourne community TV station one more year of life on free-to-air TV.Credit:Janie Barrett

“We will be using this period to work through with them what needs to happen for them to successfully transition to digital operations so that we can still have community TV as a great place where people can work and make programs,” Mr Fletcher said on Q+A.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten, who was also on the program, said he had “a few other asks as well” after Mr Fletcher made the surprise announcement.

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